Adams turns lifelong passion into livelihood

by: MALLORY CARVER/Staff Writer

An art instructor is often one of the most influential instructors that a student will ever have, but they rarely get the recognition they deserve.

Christopher Adams, instructor of art, is a recent addition to the faculty at South Plains College. He is a professor who encourages his students to not only find a passion for art, but to pursue their dreams.

Adams was raised in Midland, Texas. He says that his love for expression began when he was young. He was often caught vandalizing his mother’s furniture.

“I didn’t get in trouble for it,” Adams recalls,”but anything that I could grab, that I could make a mark with or chop up… you know, I would. I must have filled up dozens of spiral notebooks with pens and crayons and markers.”

He then discovered he could take art classes in school. His art teachers always encouraged him to continue on to higher education in art.

Adam’s father and grandmother also had a talent for art. His grandma’s house had a painting that his dad did in high school. But Adams was the first in his family to make a career out of art.

His family and friends were supportive of his decision, but he still met people who asked incredulously, “Art… What are you going to do with that?”

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Christopher Adams continues to push students to find their passion and follow their dreams.MALLORY CARVER/PLAINSMAN PRESS

Adams liked comic book art when he was a child. But now, as he has gotten older, he has become more interested in figure art.

“I get kind of picky about what I want to zero in on,” says Adams. “I tend to gravitate to the bizarre.”

He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking at the University of North Texas, then spent 17 years as a commercial printer, designing and printing. But Adams missed creating his own stuff, so he enrolled into graduate school at Texas Tech University and got his master’s degree.

During graduate school, Adams was given the opportunity to intern under one of his professors. He thought he would just be doing paperwork and running errands for the professor. Instead, the professor put him in front of the classroom. This is where Adams discovered that he loved teaching and being in front of a classroom.

Following graduate school, Adams taught art at a middle school. Fights would break out in his classes because there were so many students enrolled in them. He said that it only took a week for chairs to fly, and for him to have to break up a fight.

Despite the rough atmosphere of the middle school, Adams continued on to teach at a smaller school. He had decided that he liked teaching older students, students who didn’t throw chairs at one another. But the doors of the school had to be closed, leaving all the teachers without a job. When Adams heard of a job opening at SPC, he applied that day.

Adams teaches drawing, design, art foundations, and art history classes in the Fine Arts Department. He will soon be teaching art appreciation as well.

Adams chose to pursue a career that he loved, even though it didn’t pay a huge amount. He hopes to inspire his students to do what makes them happy—even if it’s scary.

“I want my students to take out an appreciation,” Adams says. “I want them to walk away appreciating their own creativity. Nobody can tell them that they can’t do something just because it’s unconventional.”

Adams’ love for art, and his willingness to pursue his dream, is inspiring. He says he doesn’t believe that people should be afraid to pursue what they love.

“If you have a wacky idea, then pursue it,” says Adams. “It may not be so wacky after all… If you mess up this time, just try again. Go be happy! Go enjoy life, try new things. Go do something that you want to do.”

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